December 28, 1930 - December 27, 2020
In memory ~
Guenther Schwanke, who passed away on Dec. 27, 2020, at the age of 89 years.
Guenther was born on Dec. 28, 1930, in the small town of Hirschwerder, in what was the province of Silesia, Germany to Paul and Frieda Schwanke. He was the only son, having three older and three younger sisters. Following the events of the second world war, in which Silesia became part of Poland, Guenther's family resettled in the Rheinland in 1945 where Guenther enrolled in a technical school in Espol to pursue a career in the building trades specializing in masonry. Guenther had a strong desire to see the world and in 1958 immigrated to Canada. Having to learn a new language and new customs, the first few years were difficult as Guenther worked in the gold mines of Red Lake, Ontario while establishing himself as a home builder. His exceptional craftsmanship in stonework was quickly recognized and by the mid 60's Guenther was running his own construction business. In 1968, Guenther married Renate Ilgner, whom he had met, along with her son Bernd Ludwig, during a return visit to Germany. Not wanting to brave the cold winters in northern Ontario any longer, the family moved west to Chilliwack in 1969, where in 1970, his son Peter was born.
In 1980, Guenther and his family would come to call Agassiz their new home. He worked for many years as a stone mason in the Agassiz-Harrison community as well as in Chilliwack, Aldergrove and Mission and at times, even in Vancouver. His reputation granted him the opportunity in 1993 to complete the brickwork of the Canadian ambassador's residency in Nagoya, Japan for which he received a special letter of recognition from the Canadian Consulate for his quality work.
In his later years, Guenther would indulge his passion for travel, trading his mortar trowel for plane tickets to visit Cuba, China, Eastern Europe and Russia, and South America. Guenther revelled in meeting new people and hearing of their life experiences - he was a consummate charmer. He is greatly missed.
A celebration of Guenther's life will be held on Dec. 17 from 2-4 pm at the Friendship House Hall, 7272 Morrow Rd., Agassiz BC.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. would be appreciated.